Friday, May 13, 2005


It's official, I'm the sort of guy who bothers busy people to ask incredibly stupid questions.
I recently got into an argument over whether there were other countries besides the U.S. which mentioned happiness in any official documents, such as a constitution. So I went to this site and emailed the owner with this question:

Hi Professor Jones,I stumbled upon your site while trying to win an argument about whether any other constitutions besides the U.S. constitution mention "pursuit of happiness" as a right. I found that the Japanese constitution also enshrines this right (not surprising considering the circumstances), and the proposed constitution of Bhutan, but was wondering if you know of any other constitutions that enumerate that right or one similar in intent if not wording.

Thanks,Nick Carter

I then received this response:

Dear Nick Carter:

If the U.S. Constitution mentions the "pursuit of happiness", it is news to me. Are you perhaps confusing the Constitution of the United Stateswith the Declaration of Independence? Among the inalienable rights ofall men that are mentioned in the second paragraph of the Declaration ofIndependence is that of the pursuit of happiness.
John Paul Jones

So now I feel like an idiot, because I know that the "pursuit of happiness" is in the Declaration, but as I was researching constitutions it got stuck in my mind that I was referring only to constitutions.
You will notice that he didn't answer my question.

Which would you, dear reader, rather be: a well meaning idiot or an unhelpful pedant?

No comments: